Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Show me the money!

In the short two months (almost) that have flown by since the STBX and I officially separated, I have already accumulated $1,800 in attorney fees. How the? That's about $34/day for my attorney and the only thing that's been handled to completion is our custody agreement. We have joint legal custody, I have primary physical custody and it was agreed that I could relocate with C as it was in his best interest (there is that phrase again!). My attorney handled the custody agreement and relocation provision with flair, finesse and most importantly, efficiency. It was signed within a week and a half of our separation and subsequently filed with the court.

That's it.

That's all that has been settled. For an initial $1,200 retainer and an additional $600 for the next phase. You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When you're jealous of your married friends,

... tell them. It brings humility to the situation and will prevent you from seething with resentment.  If they love you and are close friends that you can count on, they'll understand and love you even more for your honesty.

Within a year or so of my engagement, two of my close girlfriends had also gotten engaged. Our weddings were within the same time frame two years later. We all had babies soon into our marriage; all three of us had boys. You could call us the three musketeers, but we were never all "buddy buddy" like that and we each live in a different state. I'm actually surprised that I've been able to maintain a solid friendship with them given the distance issue.  I have ADHD and maintaining friendships is not my strong point normally, let alone when there are hundreds of miles of physical separation involved.  It's not that I'm an inconsiderate bitch or an un-loyal confidant, I'm just absent minded and tend to live in the moment. If you aren't in my face on a regular basis, literally, I struggle with maintaining meaningful contact. Normally. But not with these girls and maybe one or two other select individuals in my life.

Anyway, both of my good long-distance friends are now pregnant with baby number two. I've known about one for awhile (she is due in March) and I just found out about the other this morning (she is due in July). While I am incredibly happy for them both and extend congratulations sincerely, my immediate reaction to hearing the news each time was for my eyes to turn green with envy and then fill up with tears.

The root of jealousy is fear, I've been told ... so I guess I should just sit down and and say outright that I am freaked the f* out about my future. I don't know when or even if I'll ever have another baby. And that scares the crap out of me. It is what I am most angry and disappointed about when it comes to the abomination that was my marriage. I am trying to start over wonderful and I know that in order to do that I must try to remain positive and trudge onward and upward. But I sometimes can't help it if my brain turns to a mush of nothing but toxic-thought soup.

I was an only child until I was seven. My two siblings, that I love dearly and that I don't ever think of as anything BUT my full-fledged sister and full-fledged brother are in fact, my half sister and half brother. We have different fathers.  Growing up, I longed for a sibling closer in age to me because not only was being the built-in babysitter a total drag, but I was lonely and sometimes resented that they had a Dad and I didn't. Because of all that, I never wanted C to have such a big age gap between him and any future siblings. And I definitely didn't bring him into this world thinking that he would be from a broken home someday. The STBX and I were going to start TTC baby number two this spring, but that plan blew up in my pretty little face before I even tracked a single ovulation cycle post breastfeeding. I actually just found the charts I had printed up from the other day while unpacking some more boxes in my office and I promptly sent them through the shredder.

I feel like I've been cheated out of my dreams for both myself and C. It sucks royal monkey butt and I am scared.

I'm also nervous and apprehensive about what will happen to my friendships with all of my married friends. With the announcement of a second pregnancy and hearing about other friends doing other married-life things, I'm forced to wonder where I will stand with such people as their lives continue to evolve in holy matrimony while I start over as a divorced single mom. It is almost like trying to stay friends with the childless after you've had a baby. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out if you're not on the same page with people.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Liars are thieves.

A lot of people have asked me what caused the dissolution of my marriage. A lot of people are nosy, I guess. But if I'm going to share here and on my Facebook page about going through divorce and starting over wonderful, I probably should explain, at least partially, how my fairy tale turned into a nightmare in just about 2 years flat.

Going into the relationship, I already knew the STBX struggled on and off with drinking issues. I naively thought that my love for him and my strength was enough to keep it under wraps. Especially since we broke up years ago for about eight months total time and he had gone above and beyond during that break-up to convince me that I would never again be made to feel like alcohol was more important than I was ever again. Us being together was the second chance; the second time around. I thought those demons were behind us. I thought wrong (obviously, duh) and I learned through our engagement and into the first part of our marriage that the drinking and the issues surrounding it were just the tip of the iceberg.  Yes, I'll admit now that I had doubts while we were still engaged. There were red flags and I stupidly ignored them. I made excuses for him and for myself and I carried on with wedding plans despite it all. I was an idiot and fell prey to almost every rationale in this article as to why I got hitched anyway when I should have ditched.  

The biggest problem in my marriage, that I can see anyway from my perspective (because of course, there are two people in a marriage and there are two sides to ever "story"), was that the STBX was a stranger to the truth. He was a liar and a manipulator. He played with me, for more reasons that I'll probably ever know. Most of all, it was because he was selfish. And probably also because he wanted to have some sort of control over me, the natural type-A controller. He lied to me about everything in the end. He would lie to me about things that were important (like where half of his paycheck was going and what credit cards he was opening without my knowledge) and he would lie to me about things that weren't important (like what he had had for lunch that day). The "iceberg" we were standing on together was a melting rock of lies that melted out from under us as time ticked on. And granted, with every lie uncovered my need to chip away at the berg some more in a desperate attempt to find any bit of truth I could just grew and grew until I became a police woman in my own home. It brought out the worst in me and was fuel to whatever dysfunctional fire existed in me. It made me crazy. It made me think I was going crazy. It made me lose sense of reality and my sense of self. And it made me angry. It made me so angry, I started to wonder if I would ever be happy again since the anger was all encompassing.

The STBX and his lies stole from me. Stole my confidence in both the life we had built together and in myself. Took away any ounce of trust that ever existed between us and replaced trust with suspicion, doubt and paranoia.  Because that's what a liar does. A liar is the same as a thief except what they are ultimately stealing from you isn't material, it's emotional. It isn't physical, but instead is only your perception of the physical and actual.  A liar steals reality from you and holds it in the web of deception they spin around you until you are lost in a sticky mess to the point of no return. Until you don't even trust yourself or your own emotions.

Liars are thieves.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I may be the one that left, but it still hurts.

For the record, yes I am starting over and the goal is indeed to start over "wonderful", whatever that may mean. But this blogging crap is supposed to be a journey to get there and I should probably warn you now ... I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about half the time or even where I am exactly on this journey towards wonderful.  Sometimes, I'm driving ahead full throttle with the rear-view mirror torn off while C happily babbles behind me in his car seat. The windows are down, the wind is in my hair and commercial-free radio plays all of my favorite songs. And we are just fine. Other times, I'm broken down on the side of the road with a flat tire, no spare and a cell phone with no signal. Oh and C is with me and he's hungry and/or tired and I'm more-than-likely out of fresh diapers. Most of the time, I think I'm just making wrong turns and getting the direction towards where ever wonderful actually is completely confused.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it will be my first holiday on this new journey. It will be my first big social gathering with family without the STBX by my side. And I'm sure there will be questions that I don't want to answer and discussions that I'm more than sick of having, and all the while the only thing I really need is the sympathy and compassion we as humans always tend to give the dumpee and not the dumper in these situations. Because I'm hurting too. The only difference between the pain I'm going through right now and the pain the STBX might be going through is that I've been experiencing the emotional hell that comes with being abandoned since I was 6 months pregnant with our son and he's only just now experiencing it.

Frankly, I am sick of hurting and know that it is time to get beyond the hurt. Separating right before the holidays has to be the only part of leaving that I didn't think through all that well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The child's "best interests"

I have said, read and written about the "best interests" of my son, C, so many times in the last three days, it's as if the phrase is on repeat in my brain the same way that damn Adele's, "Someone Like You" was stuck last week. And, for the record, I hate that song. If I ever date again, I'll be trying to find a man that is nothing like the STBX. But that's another blog post for another day ...

Anyway, where was I going with this?

What does it mean, exactly, when a parent, lawyer or courts say that something is or isn't in a child's "best interest"? As much as I use this phrase in my day-to-day battles with the STBX, I might only partly know what it means and my opinion is probably (more than likely) at least partially biased given that I grew C inside me, gave birth to him (when was the last time you pushed something the size of a bowling ball out of your vagina?) and subsequently fell in love with him so deeply I suddenly can't breathe whenever I am forced to even think about him being in any sort of harm.

I'm currently at the early stages of visitation disagreements with the STBX. We don't have a court ordered agreement in place yet and it is about to get ugly. In short, I am seeking supervised visitation and I have contingency requests. My ideas of what is appropriate given the circumstances lands me oh say, on the east coast of the continental United States, if you wanted to equate where I am with all of this to a geographical location. The STBX doesn't just want overnights, he wants them to start right away, after months of not seeing our son, and he wants 2-3 nights at a time. This is without disputing my desire for supervision or most of the evidence available supporting my contingencies.  So basically, his ideas of what is appropriate given the circumstances land him, geographically speaking in relation to me, not on the west coast ... not in China ... not even on Mars. He's in another galaxy where the alien life forms he's walking around with raise their alien babies through plate-glass bubbles while machines beat the kiddos with whips.

Needless to say, I've been communicating feverishly with my attorney, with my family and even with the STBX's parents about our one year old son's "best interests" being safeguarded through this process.  Discussions about the mental stability of the STBX have also taken place, along with lots of swearing to myself, stressing and feeling terrified about the possible court battles that lie ahead and forgetting to eat lunch both days so far this week.

Anyway, back to my point. What exactly am I trying to protect? (Oh and pardon me for the randomness in my writing today, but due to the disastrously horrendous timing of the current national drug shortages, my ADHD is totally under-medicated at the moment and stress is high).

I am trying to protect my sweet and sensitive innocent child's "best interests". The best interests of the child. My child. My baby. To me, any pre-verbal child in diapers is still a baby. Call him a toddler if you will, but toddlers are just bigger babies that can walk, climb and get into everything you've thought you baby-proofed.

To start trying to asses what the phrase on repeat in my head actually means, I would have to first argue that yes, my son's rights do necessarily include a loving, stable and supportive relationship with both of his parents; but what may or may not be right doesn't automatically equate to what is in his best interests. Not always, anyway.  And it would seem obvious, to most individuals with some basic parental instinct and common sense, that what is best for the child would trump either parent's desires and needs with regards to their relationships with the child.

Fundamentally, my son's mental, emotional and physical well being is the basic determination of what may or may not be in his "best interests". On a deeper level, his age, maturity, and both intellectual and emotional development impact those basics. No matter how biased I may be as his mother, no one is going to be able to convince me that spending the night away from me, away from his home and stable routines, and ripped from his sense of security at the precious age of 14 months is in his "best interests".

So far, at least the STBX's parents are in agreement with me and with other experts about the potential harm and risks at stake given the current circumstances and C's age, development thus far and his high-needs temperament (I've read the Dr. Sears The Fussy Baby Book so many times, the cover fell off).  Last I heard, the STBX's parents are in the process of sending a retrieval spaceship to whatever galaxy of insane the STBX seems to be residing on these days before things get out of hand.  I anticipate a crash landing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I miss my cleaning service.

When my marriage was on the rocks, I convinced the STBX that we get a cleaning service. I had wanted one for a long time, but couldn't justify the money until I was a working Mom with an infant and a less than supportive husband.  The biweekly cleaning service started concurrent with the biweekly marriage counseling and I miss the former now as much as I loathed the latter then.

Something has got to give somewhere or I am not sleeping for at least another year.

Maybe when my divorce becomes final, I'll actually find the time to sleep and get everything done. For now, I am struggling trying to keep up with everything I want to do, everything I have to do and those pesky things I ought to do. And it just occurred to me, writing that sentence out, that that is the order of which I have been doing most things these days. My emotions have been on such a roller coaster ride since I packed up my son, dog and life and moved 400+ miles from my marital "home" in VA back to my real home, where I was born and raised. Doing things that appeal to me over things that need or ought to get done has been my way of dealing, I guess ... and that needs to stop. Like, yesterday.

The act of physically separating took three weeks between packing, moving, unpacking (somewhat) and finding C suitable daycare near the house I am renting. So that leaves me entering the holiday season about three weeks behind with work, living in a house only about two thirds of the way unpacked and less than halfway cleaned to my standard of clean, trying to manage the paperwork aspects of the short sale of said marital "home" and the beginning stages of our divorce (did I mention that I have ADHD and piles of unfilled paperwork are my nemesis?)  .... and all while being a full-time single Mom ...

Until I sit down and figure out a new budget and future savings plan, I can't even think about hiring a cleaning service. But seriously, I need a house manager to take care of all the stuff that needs to get done in order for me to sit down and figure out my budget.  And I know without even looking at all of my bills that winning the lottery is a more likely scenario than the fantasy where I can afford to pay someone to take care of all my piles of crap and do things like order, address and mail out Christmas cards.

It is a catch-22 and this blog post is nothing but me procrastinating from doing something that needs to get done. Once again, I chose to do something I wanted to do because it made me feel better for a fleeting moment. As soon as I push "publish" that moment will be gone.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breakup 101, Episode 1: Change your bed karma

Change your bed karma.

After struggling to fall asleep every single night for the first week of my separation, I went out to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought myself, not just new sheets, but new sheets, a new down comforter, a new duvet cover, new pillowcases and 4 new pillows.  And I bought the most girly and silky-satin feeling ones I could find, not because I usually am all that girly with my home decor, but just because I could. Frankly, I didn't care if I ended up spending (or rather, charging) $1,000 dollars (I only spent $600, and I only charged half) ... but I was leaving that store with an entire new place to fall asleep no matter what.

No matter how many times I washed the old sheets and blankets, they still smelled like him. Two of the pillow cases still had bleached out smears from the prescription face wash he sometimes used for the strange scalp acne he had on the back of his head. And I couldn't wash out the memories.

In my new sheets, under my warm comforter that he never would have allowed due to being one who sleeps way too hot (like, think human radiator), with my head on fresh pillows that he hasn't ever laid his head on to dream, I feel free to dream new dreams. Free to make new memories, even if most of them these day only involve waking up at 4 AM to a dog who snores and hogs the bed and a 14 month old little munchkin who does the same.  I've changed my bed karma, literally and metaphorically, and unlike Miranda from Sex and the City ("If you build it, he will come") I'm not looking for anyone new to share it with. There isn't any room.

No longer lonely

I came the realization this week that part of why I'm "doing well" or "better" so soon into the separation phase of my divorce is because even though I am alone (romantically, anyway) I am no longer lonely.

In my marriage, I was so incredibly lonely towards the end. Why is that? I'm not really sure and I don't know if I can define it, but I'll try. It is hard to describe or even define loneliness because not only is it subjective, but its also relative.  Even though most dictionaries broadly assert loneliness as being synonymous with feelings brought on by a person simply being alone, most psychologist experts would more specifically define it as a subjective deficit in the quality and/or quantity of social relationships resulting in unpleasant feelings such as a gnawing or aching distress and dissatisfaction of attachments or lack thereof. And I'm pretty sure that feelings of loneliness are intricately linked with a depressive state for the person who is feeling lonely.  Like the two feelings, although distinct, overlap one another.

The relationship I had with my STBX became so dissatisfying that feeling lonely even when we were together all the time became the number one emotion I experienced on a daily basis. Since he was lying to me regularly, the lines of communication started to fail and I didn't trust him any more. Not being able to trust him, made me feel more alone than I ever felt in my life. Not being able to communicate with him, made me feel alone. It got to the point where he would look me in the eye and lie to me, and I would immediately know that he was a million miles away, and I would feel the loneliness just wash over me in a way that the ocean tide does when you stand at the water's edge, feet dug into the sand, kind of stuck there on the edge of the world with nothing out in front of you but empty water.

My STBX was a classic procrastinator, manipulator and blamer who never kept his word. He would say what I wanted to hear to appease me, but then hardly follow through with reliable actions that matched up to his words. He was insincere and it compounded my loneliness.

Now that I have left him, I am alone in the world with just my son and my dog in the day-to-day, but I don't feel lonely. Probably because I have walked away from a marriage where the actual quality of the relationship we had didn't line up with my expectations or dreams for that relationship. I am not disappointed on a daily basis because the only person I rely on for fulfillment right now is myself. I cultivate the quality of my relationship with myself and I am satisfied with all that I am doing to start over wonderful. Wonderful and anything but lonely.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Divorce + Facebook = Trouble?

In light of my recent separation and impending divorce (and some recent drama, I might add), I just finished de-friending and subsequently blocking my STBX and every single member of his family on Facebook.  It felt so liberating. Kind of like growing your hair out for years, pulling it up into a ponytail at the crown of your head and then just cutting it off in one big swoop with the sharpest scissors you can get your hands on.  My head feels lighter; less weighed down; and almost as if I can actually hold it up a little higher. Who knows if being "friends" with my STBX or his family members would allow him to find out information that could be used against me in court, but I'm not taking any chances.  Whatever you share online these days can (and will be) used against you in court.

Now that I've picked the weeds and cleaned up my friend-list, I am free to post stuff like, "So relieved to be free from that lying, manipulative, porn-addicted DRUNK bastard!!" etc. without having to worry about receiving an e-mail from some offended ex-law that I probably never liked in the first place.  Not that I would post stuff like that regularly, but it is nice to know that what I am posting, sharing and liking on Facebook is no longer being watched by "the other side".

My MIL and STBX are now complaining, however, that they can't see pictures of C as often as they would like (I am a freelance photographer on the side, so I post a substantial number of pictures of my little man on a regular basis).  I don't know how to remedy this for them and don't really know if I should. Sure, I can send a picture here and there by e-mail, but share my personal photography -- my craft, my art -- with them as often as I upload it to Facebook? I really don't think I'm obligated to do that. I haven't responded to my MIL regarding the pictures sharing, but I did tell my STBX that if he wanted pictures of our son to take some himself when and if he ever gets visitation. He, of course, would have to file for visitation to get it and he hasn't yet. It's been five long weeks and no visitation request has been filed ... its sad, really. Maybe he was using my Facebook page as a way to "visit" with our son and now that he can't see pictures of him anymore that will be just the motivation he needs to actually get up and do something about setting up visitation. I won't hold my breath. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I was married. I'm now separated. I will be divorced.

Welcome to my blog!

I am a 29 year old single mother to a beautiful, smart and thriving one year old boy (who I will refer to as "C" here) and a overly-friendly (and over-sized) female lab mix (who I will refer to as "J" here). I'll be turning 30 and getting a divorce within the same year. I figured a blog would be an excellent way for me to turn the train wreck of my life into something positive. A way for me to document starting over at a time where most people are just settling down. Ultimately, it will be a way for me to heal and to grow into the most wonderful version of me possible.

"I'm not interested in moneyI just want to be wonderful." ~ Marilyn Monroe 

A month ago today, I woke up and swallowed the cold hard pill of my reality. I had fallen in love with and married a bad person. That's all there was to it. And I was so sick and tired of being the only person in the relationship actually trying to make it work, it was exactly the right dosage of acceptance that I needed to get the hell out. I had had one too many days of misery; of abuse; of mind games and gas-lighting. Of arguing. I was sick of being made to feel like material things were more important than me. More important than our son. I was sick of the drinking and the porn addiction, and I was especially sick of the lying. I knew that the only way to get better was to leave. It was as if I swallowed the cold hard truth of what really was going on and washed it down with tall glass of common sense and self respect.  I decided to finally start respecting myself again and with that new-found self respect, I climbed out of a moldering stew of dysfunction. I am going to learn to live again. I am escaping destruction at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath. I will be free and I will be wonderful. I will be more than wonderful.

Editor's Note:  To find out more about who writes this stuff, please head over to my about page, "Who is Phenom?". 

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